After seven months of waiting, Julian Alaphilippe returns to victory

It’s been seven months since he last raised his arms in a bike race. Julian Alaphilippe returned to victory at the end of the 168.5km Classic of Ardèche on Saturday 25 February in Guilherand-Granges. The driver from Belgian team Soudal – Quick-Step sprinted ahead of his breakaway partner David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ).

The 2020 and 2021 double world champions have not won since July 27, 2022 and the opening stage of the Tour de France. His final season was marred by falls and injuries. He succeeded only once: on the second stage of the Tour of the Basque Country in April.

The victory on the bumpy Ardèche circuit came as his team manager, Belgian Patrick Lefevere, was unhappy with his driver’s recent performances.

“All work for the past few weeks”

“It’s been a long time, when I think back to my last win. A lot has happened since then. This especially validates all the work I’ve done in the past few weeks. I know I’m getting better and today I’m really Happy because the team is doing a great job. And then we’re working really well with David Gaudu”reacting in the arrivals area in the thirties.

The duo escaped 23 kilometers up Saint-Romain-de-Lerps, 6 kilometers long and 10% drop. They couldn’t decide between the final difficulty of the day, Val d’Enfer, until Alaphilippe tackled his breakaway partner in the sprint.

“I really wanted to get over the last bump and bet everything on the sprint. Because I saw, on this long climb, when I attacked, he was the first one. I knew Long way to go. I bet on my little burst of speed, it did it”Punchers are welcome.

grateful “a relief”he still insists “sacrifice” awarded ” perfect [s]Offers for all upcoming games ». Julian Alaphilippe will start on March 4th at the Stadio White Road and from March 6th to 12th at Tirreno-Adriatico.

For his part, David Gaudou, who finished fourth in the last Tour de France, admits he has “Lacks a bit of explosiveness against Julian”. but he didn’t “Nothing to regret” : “A bit disappointed, but I’m happy to see the form Paris-Nice is taking.. “The race to the sun will run from March 5th to 12th.

AFP’s world

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